In another act of violence against policemen, BNP activists allegedly battered the head of an Assistant Sub-inspector (ASI), leaving him critically injured, along with two of his colleagues at Bagharpara upazila of Jessore during yesterday’s countrywide shutdown.
The Bagharpara police ASI Haidar, whose full name could not be acquired immediately is the latest victim of the recent string of attacks on cops. He was later flown to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka.
Two BNP activists and a pedestrian, also sustained injuries during the 30-minute clash that started around 10:30am at Bhatar-Amtala in the upazila.
“Haidar was first admitted to Jessore Medical College Hospital (JMCH). However, he was later referred to Dhaka as his condition deteriorated,” said Jahangir Hossain, a town sub-inspector (TSI) at Bagharpara Police Station.
Describing the incident he said, around 50 to 60 BNP activists put barricades on the Jessore-Magura highway at Bhatar-Amtala point in the upazila in support of the shutdown.
A team of 15 cops, who tried to resist the pickets, were surrounded and beaten indiscriminately with brickbats and sticks.
The activists thrashed Haidar’s head with sticks after he collapsed to the ground, the TSI added.
The other two officers injured were identified as Officer-In-Charge of the Bagherpara Police Station Ramprasad Bhakta, and Sub-Inspector Munsi Mofizur Rahman.
Elsewhere, the first day of the countrywide 36-hour shutdown, called by the BNP-led 18-party alliance, was marked by stray incidents of violence and vandalism.
In the capital, Dhaka, cocktail blasts in different parts of the city marked the early hours of the shutdown.
BNP claimed that more than 170 party leaders and activists were arrested, and more than 290 injured, while seven were jailed and two were fined by mobile courts during the first day.
Shamsuzzaman Dudu, adviser to the BNP chairperson, alleged that they were compelled to enforce hartal as the government turned the country into a “safe haven for terrorists.”
“We know that hartal creates problem for the people but people supported the programme in their own interest. A hartal is a peaceful protest programme against repression," he said defending the programme at a press briefing at the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters in the capital.
The Khilgaon a mobile court sentenced three activists of Mohila Dal with three months’ imprisonment after they were caught vandalising vehicles.
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) brought out a procession at 6:30am and blasted five crude bombs in front of Mirpur Government Bangla College and the Ansar Camp area. They also vandalised a CNG-run auto-rickshaw.
Hartal supporters brought out a procession at Azimpur in the morning and exploded two bombs.
JCD activists brought out a procession in the morning from Dhaka Polytechnic Institute in Tejgaon. They detonated three cocktail-bombs.
The activists of Jatiyatabadi Shechchasebak Dal (Dhaka metropolitan unit) also marked their presence by causing 10-cocktail explosions in the Malibagh area.
Activists of Shechchasebak Dal, belonging to the Sabujbagh unit, blasted three more cocktails at Shantibagh.
Meanwhile, the BNP central office at Nayapaltan was locked down with no activists turning up. In the evening, criminals lit a CNG-run auto rickshaw in front of the office.
Educational institutions remained closed, but government and non-government offices remained open, though attendance was thin. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws dominated the city streets. However, rail services ran as normal.
A pervasive presence of law enforcement was seen in the city. Plainclothes police with still and video cameras were seen at a number of strategic points in the city.
Clashes, injuries, arrests and explosions of crude bombs were also reported from other parts of the country during the shutdown.
In Rajshahi, hartal supporters brought out a procession from the Sadar Hospital crossing area and clashed with police upon being intercepted, leaving 10 people injured.
In Khagrachhori at least four people, including a child, were injured when picketers ransacked 12 vehicles at different places in the district. The injured were released after given primary treatment at Khagrachhari Adhunik Sadar Hospital.
At Narayanganj, hartal activists brought out a procession at Nitaiganj in Sadar upazila. A clash between police and pickets took place as the law enforcers obstructed the procession, leaving five people injured.
In other incidents, about 12 crude bombs went off on the Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet highways at Siddhirganj in Sadar upazila.
BNP workers blocked Dhaka-Narayanganj-Munshiganj road at Gopchar point in Sadar upazila by placing logs, and pickets at Panchabati in Sadar upazila torched a passenger bus.
In Natore, police arrested two BNP activists from Tebaria after they lit up tyres on the Dhaka-Natore highway.
Meanwhile, in Jhenidah three Jamaat activists were arrested by police from Kotchandpur and Harinakundu upazilas for their alleged involvement in the killing of police constable Omar Farooque, and attacks on law enforcers.
Farooque was beaten and chopped to death by Jamaat-Shibir men while on duty at the upazila complex on March 3.
The Hartal was also observed in Chandpur and Narayanganj amid stray violence.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance called the 36-hour nationwide shutdown from 6am Tuesday to 6pm Wednesday in response to the denial of bail for seven senior BNP leaders including its acting secretary general.
The alliance will hold demonstrations in every district headquarter including Dhaka on April 27.